TBR Pile Challenge 2015 – Halfway there

TBR Pile Challenge 2015 – Halfway thereMarina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on September 26th, 2013 (first published 1999)
Genres: Young Adult, Historical fiction
Pages: 299
ISBN: 9780297856474
The verdict: four-stars
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In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts...

Against all odds, I’m halfway there with the TBR Pile Challenge! I’ve read 6 books out of 12, and I’m almost starting to believe I will make it this year haha.

Book number five for the challenge was Zafón’s Marina. This was actually the last of Zafón’s translated books that I hadn’t read yet, so in a way I feel a bit sad about having finished it. It’s not my favourite of his YA books (that honour still goes to the brilliantly creepy The Midnight Palace) but really enjoyed it, and on the whole it was a steady 4 stars for me… until the ending, which was a killer 5 stars. Very, very good.

If you enjoy Zafón’s writing and especially his descriptions of Barcelona, you have to read this. This book (like the others) has pushed Barcelona higher up my travel wishlist.

* * *

TBR Pile Challenge 2015 – Halfway thereBattle Royale by Koushun Takami
Published by Gollancz on May 2007 (first published 1999)
Genres: Dystopian, Science fiction
Pages: 617
ISBN: 9780575080492
The verdict: three-stars
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A class of 42 junior high school students are taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided with weapons and forced to kill one another until only one survivor is left standing.

Book six was Battle Royale, a book that has also been on my TBR for a really long time. Well, I finally read it and I have strong feelings about it. Before I start this review: Battle Royale the movie is one of my favourite movies ever. But I am also one of the first to say ‘the book is better than the movie!’

Well, I was looking forward to reading this book for a long time and I hate disappointments.

/start rant
The English translation of this book is cringeworthy. Easily one of the worst professionally published translations I’ve ever read. I am a Japanese major and had you asked us to translate this book during our second university year, this is what you would’ve gotten to a T. Which is not a good thing. Things that work in Japanese do not necessarily work in English. The translation is too literal, which makes it ugly and downright childish at many points.

The translation nearly ruined the book for me, but I kept reading. The concept is awesome and I love the structure of the book. We follow the game through the
2015 TBR Pile Challengeeyes of different characters, some with more background story than others. Some of the personal stories are a bit meh, but on the whole the book is awesome. Would have given it more than three stars (probably even five) if it weren’t for the awful translation.

So… want to read a book with a good story? Read this. Want to read a well written book? … Curse the translator and watch the movie.


  1. Oops… (please don’t hesitate to delete the truncated comment above)

    I tried to read Battle Royale a while ago (because I love the movies) but the way it was written really put me off. I gave up after a few pages. Maybe I should try the french translation if there is one.
    A translator can really ruin a book. This happened with Solaris (Stanislaw Lem) and then it gets impossible to have another translation 🙁 (For Solaris, get the Kindle version or the AudioBook transcription 😉 )
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